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Project Based Learning; The Borrowers

So today our plans were cancelled at the last minute as we all felt under the weather, especially Little Bean. It could have been spent moping around not getting much done, but I used my knowledge of project based homeschooling and planned from their play. This meant we had a fantastic, fun and super productive day.
Wild Wandering Tribe | Travel Family | Home Education

Snuggled in bed this morning, Big Bean walked in trying to catch ‘something’, she then climbed in next to me and Little Bean with her hand cupped, as though holding something.”What have you got there?” I asked. “Her name’s Charlotte, she lives in our house. She’s so tiny only I can see her!”. Big Bean has a fabulous imagination and often comes up with stories like this.

With Little Bean feeling poorly, and all of us very tired, I cancelled our original plans and thought I’d cling onto this lovely idea Big Bean had come up with through her play. Lately we have been delving into more chapter books, what a perfect time to introduce a childhood favourite of mine, and a true Classic – The Borrowers by Mary Norton.

Whilst eating breakfast we listened to the audio book on Audible. The girls then wanted to make their own Borrowers. So we made these lovely dolls using pipe cleaners, fabric scraps, polystyrene balls and embroidery thread. I helped them sew the dresses, but the girls were able to make most of the rest independently as it was just wrapping the thread around the pipe cleaners. We spent a good 2 hours making these, listening to the story in the background and munching biccies, it was pretty lovely. Big Bean then grabbed a ruler and measured her doll. “It’s 6cm mummy” she told me excitedly. She is really understanding measurements now, and is measuring everything!

After this we watched snippets of the Borrowers movie and TV adaptations that I could find on YouTube whilst we ate lunch and recharged with cups of tea.

In the afternoon we tinkered in the Home Ed shed; the girls wanted to make the Borrowers a house, so they didn’t have to live behind the skirting boards.
Wild Wandering Tribe | Travel Family | Home Education
Whilst making tables for the Borrowers the girls experimented with some tape art. This wasn’t prompted by me at all, it was so lovely to see them utilise techniques that we have done in the past completely independently.
Wild Wandering Tribe | Travel Family | Home Education

We spent 3 hours immersed in the making of these gorgeous houses. I am so in love with all of the tiny details and imaginative use of materials. Like the swings made from curtain rings, the disco balls made from pipettes covered in gold confetti or the lampshade made from a sleigh bell opened out!

I sat back and observed throughout most of the building, they obviously had help from me with the glue gun and some of the trickier cutting out, but only when they asked for it, and all of the ideas were their own. They are more engaged if they feel you trust them and allow them to completely own their learning.

This was such a fun day, and they have been playing with their creations all evening. I have been thinking about what would have happened to Big Beans gorgeous idea this morning, dreamt up through her play. If I hadn’t have jumped on that little spark would it have been lost? Would they have been interested in the story of the borrowers? Would they have produced such fantastic creations had this activity been adult led and taught? I truly believe they would not have been so deeply invested, had this all have been led and planned by me.

What a perfect example of inquiry based learning! Our spontaneous mid week mini topic shows that so much can be achieved by jumping on their ideas and following them enthusiastically, trusting them to take the learning where it needs to go.

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